‘Uttar Pradesh’s population control bill detrimental for marginalised communities and women’

Nagrik Samwaad Manch, a non-profit, has said the draft Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation, and Welfare) Bill, 2021 will have negative impacts on the youth population, marginalised communities and women. It asserts fertility rates in the state have already dropped from 3.8 in 2005-06 to 2.7 in 2015-16.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: July 17th, 2021

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state with a total population of 19.95 million as per the 2011 census.

While the state government’s decision to introduce the draft Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation, and Welfare) Bill, 2021 has yielded mixed reactions from various quarters, Nagrik Samwaad Manch, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), pointed out its alleged negative impact on the youth in the state.

“An analysis of the proposed bill shows that the legislation will worsen the condition of the people from the marginalised sections of the society. The Bill would prove to be especially detrimental to the youth population in the state,” the NGO stated in a press release issued on July 16. 

The statement also cited the data from the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4) and showed that there’s been a reduction in the fertility rate in Uttar Pradesh without the introduction of such a legislation.

A couple living below the poverty line and having only one child, undergoes voluntary sterilisation operation upon himself or spouse shall be given a specific amount.

Also Read: Uttar Pradesh Population Control Bill, 2021: All you need to know

“Although the Bill aims at reducing the fertility rate in the state, the NFHS-4 report shows that the rate was 3.8 in 2005-06 which came down to 2.7 in 2015-16. So, the trend shows that the population explosion is reducing and is expected to reduce further,” the NGO stated.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state with a total population of 19.95 million as per the 2011 census.

‘Youth, women would suffer worst’

In its press statement, the NGO stated that the youth, which “contributes 34 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP)” would suffer the worst effects of the Bill. 

“If a third child is born to such a couple, they would be barred from getting government employment and become leaders at the local levels. This is worrisome,” it stated.

Free health care facility would be provided to spouse of public servants following two children norm.

Also Read: Severely malnourished under-5 children consumed by hunger in the pandemic

Also, the press statement mentioned that the marginalised sections of the society who are already reeling under the devastating effects of the COVID19 pandemic would have further difficulty in getting rations, nutrition, education and employment. 

“The Bill can possibly result in an increased stress on the women to give birth to a male child and this would witness the illegal sex determination testing of the foetus which can eventually result in female infanticide and disturb the disappointing sex ration in the state,” it added.

Key highlights of the UP Population Control Bill 2021

As per the draft bill, its aim is to “to revitalize efforts and provide for measures to control, stabilize and provide welfare to the population of the State by implementation and promotion of two child norm and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto”.

Also Read: Excluded by marriage: ‘Over a million women in Odisha left out of PDS’

The draft proposes to give incentives to state public servants and their spouses if they adopt the two-child norm by undergoing voluntary sterilisation operation. These incentives to public servants include:

  • Two additional increments during the entire service.
  • Subsidy towards purchase of plot or house site or built house from Housing Board or Development Authority, as may be prescribed.
  • Soft loan for construction or purchasing a house on nominal rates of interest,as may be prescribed.
  • Rebate on charges for utilities such as water, electricity, water, house tax, as may be prescribed.
  • Maternity or as the case may be, paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances.
  • Three per cent increase in the employer‘s contribution Fund under national pension scheme.
  • Free health care facility and insurance coverage to spouse.

The draft also has disincentives for couples who do not follow the two-child norm after the act comes into force. These disincentives include:

  • Debarring from benefit of Government sponsored welfare schemes.
  • Limit of ration card Units upto Four.
  • Bar on contesting election to Local Body etc.
  • Bar on applying to government jobs.
  • Bar on Promotion in government services.
  • Bar on receiving any kind of government subsidy.

The state law commission has invited suggestions from the public via email ([email protected]) or by post latest by July 19, 2021. The draft, with its focus on two-child policy, has led to criticism from various quarters.